Today, on the 2nd Sunday of Advent, we realize or awake to the reality that the great feast of Christmas is only three weeks away, celebrating the incarnation of Jesus over 2000 years ago. With Thanksgiving behind us, many people, many families have put up their outdoor lights and decorations. You may have your house completely decorated for those early and necessary Christmas parties to appease all the relatives, neighbors and friends, and your Christmas cards may already be in the mail. Organized people have everything under control. The rest of us may be struggling to keep up one day at a time.
But what do we do about this season of Advent, this season of anticipation to prepare for the Lord’s coming anew in our lives and hearts? Since Christ has already come, he is not literally born again, but there is another meaning for the word Advent, coming from the Latin adventus; a word often used to mean “arrival.” So we speak of his arrival in our hearts, a more spiritual or religious experience. We can understand this not so much on us waiting for God, but as God waiting on us to prepare a place for the Word to ‘find room’ in the very fabric of our lives.
One way to make room is to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation at this time of year. We will celebrate reconciliation on Thursday, December 15th. Making room can mean a couple of things. The first might be to remove the clutter from our minds and hearts that keep us from giving wholehearted attention to the love of the Lord. This clutter can be the attitudes we hold onto, the actions, the sins that keep us from being wholly focused on the Lord’s arrival. The second might be engaging in those activities that bring the love and light of the Lord into the lives of others. You may choose to sign up and donate blood through the mobile Stanford Blood Center on Sunday, December 18. You may choose to pick up a gift tag for the Saint Joseph Center in Gilroy to provide an individual with a gift for Christmas. You may choose to empty a closet of little used clothing that could benefit someone else.
You might choose to make room on the dining room table for an Advent wreath, four candles either purple or white and use the prayers easily found on websites to be open to the coming light of the Lord. You may have chosen to ask for prayers and in turn pray for someone else in the parish through our Advent Angel program. Or you may choose to set aside some quiet time each day to simply rest in the Lord’s presence between now and Christmas over a cup of tea or coffee in the morning or evening.
One thing is certain life will not slow down for us, it will not hold us by the hand, instead we need to make a space where God can enter into our lives and hearts and then on Christmas Day despite all the chaos, we can sing God’s praises with all the angels and saints, “O Come all ye Faithful!”